The King's Curse
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The King's Curse

Brian Timothy Myers
by bmyers91 on 28 May 2021 for Rookie Awards 2021

My 2021 Rookie Awards entry for 3D animation.

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The King's Curse-2021 Rookie Awards Submission

This is my entry for the 2021 Rookie Awards in 3D animation. This was one of the most challenging projects I've done and one of the most rewarding, I hope you enjoy watching it.

Reference and Inspiration

I knew from the beginning that I wanted to make a sort of fake trailer that pays tribute to some of my favorite adventure movies. The Mummy and Indiana Jones films heavily inspired the look and feel of the micro story within the animation. I wanted the rich look of gold torch light and stone mixed with the geometric architecture of ancient Egypt. 

Houdini Dynamics

The focus for this project was the use of simulations. I am currently learning Houdini and knew this was a challenge I couldn't pass up. While I've done water and fire simulations within Houdini before, granular simulations were unfamiliar to me. This led to many set backs and a steep learning curve. For instance, getting the simulation to behave correctly was a difficult task. I finally settled on a sweeping fan force that produced desirable results. However, I also had trouble with the jitter scale on the simulation which would leave the grains in a grid-like pattern. After much tweaking, I was satisfied with the results even though there did appear to be minor artifacts within the final render.

Substance Painter Texturing

For texturing, I started off in photoshop taking several pictures of ancient Egyptian stone and cloth patterns and deleting certain parts of each image with a custom brush and alphas. This would produce a sense of wear I could use later with Substance Painter to layer with other textures. 

From there, I used a mix of textures on both the walls and the floor to attain the look I wanted. While I initially wanted to use displacement maps for all of the fine detail, I quickly realized it was simply too much for the hardware available to me to handle. I settled on the use of bump maps and normal maps which produced good results at very little expense on both the main environment and smaller objects. The only object I didn't have to texture was the sarcophagus which was a mesh scan from Harvard University with textures provided.

Beetle Rig and Final Animation

For the beetle animation, I modeled and rigged a beetle with inverse kinematics within Blender and was able to keyframe a path for the beetle from there. It was also textured in substance painter. The camera itself was a bezier curve animation from start to finish. Final render was also done within Blender Cycles.

Thank you for viewing my entry for the 2021 Rookie Awards. I had a lot of fun with this project and I hope you enjoy viewing it as much as I did making it.


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